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Blogs / Professional Fellows Exchange Program / E 3 of sustainability: Environment

E 3 of sustainability: Environment

Economic development here depends mostly on project development in building construction, businesses, and tourism. Whenever environmental issues are taken into consideration, it will survive a sustainable development, and this is how the local government in Middleton has pursued. It is true that everywhere here is green as always. To maintain this mission, all the projects submitted must be considered in environmental side of effects to the community as a whole.

To witness this, we were going to Pheasant Conservancy Beach which is doing a good job in capturing the local tourists. It is a wildlife sanctuary where the green scenery exists. Of course, the areas of housing, business, and factory are kept in a far distance from this conservancy. However, attached to this area, biking, the core leisure activity of people here, is so popular, and biking trails are developed for people to enjoy the experience. And of course, we were biking on the trails around this area too. That was my first biking experience (this kind of bike), but thanks to Mark and Pam, who always brought a never-ending support.

Moreover, we were joining an environmental sustainability meeting which focused on a campaign to collect recycling chargeable batteries and cellphones. This project has been approved and placed into a pilot first to see how people will engage in the campaign. The project was raised since they could see many bad impacts of no-more used batteries and cellphones in the community while the price of collecting those stuff is quite high and still negotiable; thus, in order for the company to set up a reasonable price of charging such recycling stuff, they need to get feedback from the community on the amount of those possibly collected so that the company can define the average rate estimated for people to pay when collection of this recycling batteries comes.

There was also a Climate Change Referendum forum held at the National Public Library in Middleton, which was calling for a vote for the endorsement of carbon fee and dividend program. Through this program, all the residents will be incentivized more when they emit the carbon dioxide less. Due to an understanding of huge negative impacts of this climate change and a good solution out of this referendum implementation, a vote is encouraged. And yes, this referendum was included on the ballot paper in the National Election in Middleton.

However, solar energy is being motivated in energy consumption. MGE is a company, operating this business, is taking into a deep collaboration with people in Middleton to invest in solar energy by issuing shares to people here so that they can consume solar energy within a set period of time based on how much they have acquired. This shows how people here are not thinking about how much the company can be earned recently, but it reflects how people are thinking about the sustainability in growth and social well-being in the long term run. As pointed, I also saw a sunflower-shaped solar energy placement by MGE at Olbrich Botanical Gardens. Together they live well!!

Talking about Olbrich Botanical Gardens, we would go a bit further from Middleton and see how this place practices sustainability by conserving resources and using environmentally friendly gardening methods. For its partnership in sustainability, it truly embraces the community involvement with creative and innovative collaborations. There are more than 5,300 families are Olbrich members. It also collaborates with local organizations to cultivate sustainability through educational programs and services. It is certified by Travel Green Wisconsin, which certified tourism organization and business committed to reducing their environmental impact. Olbrich staff members use The Natural Step, the City of Madison sustainability planning tool, to conserve energy, reduce waste, and educate the public about sustainable gardening.

Referring to Wisconsin again, we remember about cheese as always. We had a cheese farm visit, got a chance to feed the little calf some milk, and tasted a very fresh milk at the same time. Wisconsin is well known by its cheese in term of quality in taste, clean, and freshness; thus, milk quality must be needed to produce the quality cheese. It is amazing that organic meat, milk, and cheese are produced here. Additionally, to avoid the flow of wasted water from cheese production to the river, the Living Machine is created in the green house to transform the wasted water into clean water which can still be used in further production. It uses a natural and efficient process to treat waste water by removing 99% of the biological oxygen demand, 98% of the suspended solids, 93% of total nitrogen, and 57% of phosphorus. The resulting effluent is much cleaner than the receiving stream, and clean water is then returned to Honey Creek. Excellent job, Wisconsin!!

All in all, we could see how a development is enriched by preserving the local environment through various means. Still, the economic can be sustainably developed as long as the environmental issue is effectively dealt, and this must need a strong a cooperation from all parties to join hands.

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